WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — A National Weather Service (NWS) Seattle office Excessive Heat Warning remains in place for most of western Washington, including Whatcom County, through Monday evening due to expected high temperatures mostly in the 90s to around 100° today, June 26th, and in the 90s to 110° tomorrow and Monday.
Yesterday’s high temperatures reached the 80s and 90s around Whatcom County, about 10 degrees less than is expected over the next few days, with the hottest temperatures expected Sunday and Monday.
While eastern Washington is accustomed to experiencing high temperatures in this range, western Washington is not and most residences lack air-conditioning that is commonplace in eastern Washington. As a result, special care is being advised by local and state health agencies.
The Excessive Heat Warning notes, “Unprecedented heat with record high temperatures will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in activities outdoors and for the elderly and those without air-conditioning.”
NWS provided the following summary of the situation during a briefing this morning.
- A long-duration, unprecedented heat wave will impact the Pacific Northwest this weekend into early next week
- Little to no relief from the heat overnight
- There will be a high to very high risk of heat-related impacts/illness for much of the population, especially those who are heat sensitive and those without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration
- Increasing fire danger due to hot, dry conditions and an increase in outdoor activities (camping, grilling, vehicles, etc.)
Whatcom County Emergency Management Deputy Director John Gargett said in an email this morning, “Puget Sound Energy believes their system load capability is looking good and suggest these tips to help save energy.”
- Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible. For those with central air or air conditioning, PSE recommends no lower than 75 degrees. That might seem on the warm side, but customers can save up to 5 percent on their electric bill by taking that simple step.
- Use fans to help circulate the air. Remember that ceiling fans cool you, not the room, so when you leave the room, make sure to turn off the fan.
- Make sure to close window blinds and curtains to block direct sunlight. In the evening, open windows for cross ventilation.
- Run appliances – such as dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers – at night.
Gargett also provided the following list of resources and services available throughout Whatcom County being provided by Whatcom County, Whatcom Transportation Authority, Bellingham Public Schools, City of Bellingham and the Lighthouse Mission during the extreme heat.
Bellingham Public Library
The Central Library at 210 Central Avenue in Bellingham will offer water from 10am to 6pm on Saturday, June 25th, and Monday, June 27th.
Bellingham Public Schools
Bellingham High School cafeteria, 2020 Cornwall Avenue, will be open 10am to 8pm today, tomorrow and Monday to provide an air-conditioned indoor space and water.
Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA)
At Bellingham Station (205 E Magnolia Street in downtown Bellingham) the following will be available:
- Bottled water during the hours of 10am to 5pm today, tomorrow and Monday
- Indoor water fountains
- Air-conditioned indoor waiting area
At Cordata Station (4194 Cordata Parkway near Whatcom Community College) the following will be available:
- Bottled water available during the hours of 10am to 5pm today, tomorrow and Monday
- Outdoor water fountains
WTA buses continue to run fare free until July 1st and are a good way to reach cooling stations and other community resources.
Whatcom County Library System (WCLS)
Air-conditioned indoor spaces are available at all WCLS locations during library open hours. In addition, bottled water will be available at WCLS’ Deming, North Fork (Kendall), Sumas, Everson and Lynden branches during regular hours, today, tomorrow and Monday. See locations and hours at www.wcls.org/info.
Lighthouse Mission Ministries Base Camp
In addition to local government efforts, Lighthouse Mission Ministries will have water, sunscreen, covered outdoor areas and air-conditioned indoor areas available to anyone at its Base Camp shelter, 1530 Cornwall Avenue.
Current temperatures across Whatcom County and the more recent forecast can be viewed on the Whatcom News weather page.